HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli bulldozers escorted by Israeli forces uprooted 500 olive trees in an area west of the village of Kharas in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Thursday, locals said.
The mayor of Kharas, Abed al-Fattah, told Ma’an that three Israeli bulldozers escorted by Israeli forces uprooted the olive trees, all more than 14 years old, planted on 25 dunams (six acres) of land.
He added that Israeli forces uprooted the trees without prior notice, and that Palestinian owners of the land were embroiled in court disputes as Israeli authorities have attempted to issue confiscation orders for the land.
One of the owners of the land, Faisal Moussa al-Hroub, told Ma’an that Israeli authorities were attempting to expel them from their lands, but “they will never leave.”
He said that the olive trees uprooted by Israeli forces were owned by him and his brother Muhammad, and that the land was the only major income for them and scores of his relatives.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the incident.
According to Ma'an records, this is the third reported instance
of Israeli forces uprooting olive trees
-- a tree which is highly symbolic for Palestinians -- in the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of the year, threatening the livelihoods of numerous Palestinians.